[CentOS] A minor beef

ryan ryanag at zoominternet.net
Mon Nov 28 08:08:31 UTC 2005

On Sunday 27 November 2005 19:49, Tim Edwards wrote:
> Bryan J. Smith wrote:
> > 2)  Repository hell affects _most_ other package distros, including
> > Debian.  Ubuntu and other Debian-based distros get around them by
> > including software that may not be legally redistributed.
> Just out of interest what do Debian, Ubuntu and others distribute that
> is illegal? And even if they do how does having illegal software help
> get around repository problems?

Illegal probably isn't the correct word in all cases.

A great example is the RPM libdvdcss - it allows de-encryption of commercial 
DVDs so that they can played (or illegally copied) under Linux.

It may be a DMCA violation to use libdvdcss since it provides features (like 
DVD ripping, ignoring of country codes, and screen capture) that can be used 
to get around DVD-protection schemes.

Interestingly, no one has ever challenged the use of libdvdcss and it probably 
*isn't* illegal. If it was challenged in court, it would *probably* be ok to 
use since no one has produced a way to play DVDs under Linux with commercial 
software....although courts may order some of its features removed (like 
ignoring country codes).

As if this wasn't a grey enough area already, the DMCA has no authority 
outside the USA.

In some countries, personal use of strong encryption software is banned. In 
those countries I assume CentOS is totally illegal out of the box since it 
ships with OpenSSH, and can not be removed during installation.

Generally, distros like CentOS/Fedora/OpenSUSE/Debian try to stick to all GPL 
licensed packages in their repos (which is no guarantee that they will be 
legal everywhere). For a list of RPMs that are fully supported, but kept out 
of OpenSUSE (SUSE includes them in the boxed version) since they aren't 
licensed via the GPL see here: 


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